Okinawa, Japan

My mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2000, and was undergoing chemotherapy since March. In late October the doctors announced that the cancer was not under control, and due to my mother’s deteriorating health, there was not much they can do at this point.

What I don’t understand is that these doctors, the best that Taiwan has to offer, decided not to tell my mother about her own condition – I get the idea that sometimes people get worse if they know of their own status… but my point is that if the doctors decide not to tell the patient, is it up to the family to inform their loved ones?. To this day I do not understand how they can decide to play GOD and not let my mother know, instead lying to her and telling her that she was on her way to recovery…

Due to my current visa status, I am not able to go back to Taiwan to visit her, so Dieter arranged a trip for me and her to meet halfway in Okinawa, Japan.

I was also in the process of setting up appointments with doctors in the United States to have a “second opinion” on my mother’s condition.

Since she was in good spirits, and there were no obvious symptoms that were bothering her, both my mother and I were looking forward to meeting for a brief relaxing visit, a break from the usual hospital life, so to speak.

At the time of the trip, I was already looking forward to seeing my mother in Okinawa, and also see her again soon in Minneapolis. I had no idea that this would be the last time I got to see her…

Mr. Lin had to leave this afternoon so Mr. Shimabukuro and I drove him to the airport. When I returned mom was not in the restaurant – she apparently was tired and decided to rest in the room. The rest of us took a quick trip to an old Chinese castle called Shurijo.

That evening we went to have a authentic Okinawan meal – turns out that it’s incredibly close to Taiwanese home-style cooking!

Mom and I spoke about Mr. Lin’s suggestion that she and I stay for another day alone in Okinawa… this is when I realized that although we are alike in terms of our stubbornness, we are also alike that we both do not like to create what we consider “problems.

We talked and agreed that mom will go back and complete her last session of chemo (ending at the beginning of December), then she should visit me a few weeks after, sometime before Christmas, and we can spend more time together, in Minneapolis.

That is Dieter, pushing mom on the wheelchair. Mom mentioned to me that this is one of the first times she felt treated like a queen, with everyone serving her, and she truly enjoyed this short weekend trip.

Mom at the airport, flying back to Taipei.